While this will go down as yet another average night for David Beckham, it will go down as a much improved performance all-around, compared to previous outings in the postseason and late in the regular season.
Beckham didn’t earn any assists or goals against Sigi Schmid’s Seattle Sounders on Sunday, but his influence on the field was enough for Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy to head into CenturyLink Field with an air of confidence and resolve after a 3-0 shutout victory in the first leg of the 2012 MLS Western Conference Championship at CenturyLink Field.
Distribution-wise, the bad crosses were back, but it wasn’t as glaring—it was only 10 unsuccessful crosses. Beckham also had a 66 percent pass success rate, two layoffs, two successful crosses, a through ball and a header. It should be noted that Beckham registered 82 passes this match, meaning he got the ball a lot. Beckham will need to reduce the bad giveaways when sending long balls to the forward.
Set-piece wise, Beckham played it smart and had three short corners compared to one long corner. It seems that the routine of “okay, let’s take it short and then I go for a cross” is starting to become commonplace for Beckham. And while it’s a nice wrinkle…it still provides the same outcome: either no one in white receiving the cross (Omar Gonzalez came close on a number of those) or Michael Gspurning collecting for the Sounders’ next sequence.
Beckham, however, shined defensively. His work rate and stamina, in spite of his age, should be applauded in spite of all the criticism. His 11 recoveries are a testament to his dedication defensively in the midfield. The midfield of Beckham, Christian Wilhelmsson, Mike Magee and Juninho/Marcelo Sarvas worked well enough to maintain the shutout victory.
David Beckham is the glue that holds the midfield together. When he struggles, the rest of the team need to either pick up the pieces or risk going down with him. This was not one of his best games, but it is better than his previous outwings due to his distribution, his influence in the midfield, his recoveries, and the drive to get maybe one more MLS Cup before he calls it a career.
with this cushion, Beckham will need another of these performances and some to ensure that the Los Angeles Galaxy return to the MLS Cup Final and earn a legit chance to defend their Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.